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Fosters and Rogers... Whats In A Name

If you're one of the most successful architects in the world and the winner of this years Pritzker Prize what do you do next? Well if you're Richard Rogers you take the unusual step of sticking two fingers up to the starchitect brand of your practise and rename it.

The Richard Rogers Partnership has now been renamed Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, a highly unusual move for any firm so associated with such a famous architect in a world where architecture now revolves around prestigious names as much as individual talent.

Incase you were wondering who Stirk and Harbour are then Graham Stirk is the messy haired guy who penned Lloyd's Register of Shipping, 88 Wood Street and the Leadenhall Building whilst Ivan Harbour has done the European Court of Justice in Strausbourg and Madrid Airport.

It's not that surprising a move from Rogers though who is now into his 70s. The aging names of the starchitect firms such as Foster et al have raised the question of how the firm will continue as the leading light gets older and then eventually dies.

If the company employs hundreds of people then this is rather an issue, not least for the other partners who also have a stake in the business and all those who could lose their jobs. Who really wants to retire or die and have their legacy go tits up?

In changing the name of the Richard Rogers Partnership and having some of it's top people in the title it's showing a future beyond the man who originally founded the firm in the early seventies to rave reviews.

The contrast between RRP and Foster and Partners couldn't be wider. At Fosters there was a widely publicised break where some of the big talents including Ken Shuttleworth broke off and left to form their own practise at annoyed in part at the lack of recognition they were getting.

Fosters are also looking to the future as Sir Norman isn't exactly the youngest on the block now. In their case the rumours have been about a large chunk of the business being sold off to raise capital for expansion of the firm so it can become a truly worldwide architecture and engineering firm like Atkins.

The coming years will see both Foster and Partners, and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners providing us with a fascinating look at just what options a successful architecture practise can do when the guru-like leader finally gets too old for it.

On one hand you can become a massive corporate company or on the other you can retain the idealistic founding principles from when you set up your firm and pass them down to the next generation in the hope your name lives on in acclaim rather than the stock markets.

Article Related buildings:

Lloyds Register of Shipping Building

Lloyds Register of Shipping Building
88 Wood Street

88 Wood Street
The Leadenhall Building

The Leadenhall Building
Waterside, Paddington Basin
Waterside, Paddington Basin